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    • #130128

      What the difference? When does it become abusive, or when is it just selfishness/toxic behaviour

    • #130131

      ISOPeace wrote a fantastic post on this a few days ago in the thread “My Week”. I read it and really got it.
      I don’t want to stand on her toes by quoting her, as I’m sure she can explain a million times better than me, and I hope I haven’t read it wrong, but she basically said I think that an abusive relationship is categorised by an imbalance in power. So I see that as one partner has power or control over the other.
      My personal experience is exactly that which is one of the reasons her post hit home. I was in a long relationship which was toxic when it broke down. We argued, he sulked, hideously miserable. But it was not abusive. No power imbalance. I could give as good as I got. I had no fear of him whatsoever. Just toxic marriage break up.
      Then I had an abusive relationship and the difference was stark. Total power and control held by one person with me living on eggshells or in terror.
      So I totally got ISOPeace’s post. It is worth a read as she sets it out so well.

    • #130132

      I agree isopeaces advice on my post my week describe exactly this. In my eyes a toxic relationship is where you both argue you both pick fault with eachother but maybe you can both also apologise see where you went wrong an abusive one is one sided. One person is scared walks on eggshells isnt allowed an opinion a life. And sorry is never used by one person.Maybe you can have a mixture some days i argue back some days i try and fight back but I always back down. Maybe in a toxic relationship at times each if you back down? This is a good question has made me really think now xx

    • #130149
      Prosecco and roses

      This is a question I have pondered for a number of years now and it’s only recently, after managing to separate from my husband, that I’ve realised all the behaviour I considered just toxic and made excuses for was abusive. He with held love and affection, would never apologise for anything, would live a separate life from me and the children, call us names, dictate how we spent our time, demand things, be physically aggressive and generally make me anxious and nervous all the time. Until I had the courage to make the decision to split I never saw his behaviour for as bad as it was. Now he’s not here I feel relaxed and not walking on eggshells for the first time in so long I realised the true affect he had on me and my confidence. I wonder, if you feel a relationship is toxic maybe you need to look closer at how often that behaviour occurs and if its lots and there is a pattern to control you maybe it’s actually abusive?!? I wish I had had the courage to look deeper at my pondering on this question sooner, but it’s never that simple.

    • #130163
      Wants To Help

      I often hear the saying a ‘toxic relationship’ as being an alternative way of trying to describe an abusive relationship. Let’s face it, neither are good, however, if we look at the dictionary definition of the words…

      Abuse – to treat with cruelty and violence regularly or repeatedly

      Toxic – causing unpleasant feelings; harmful or malicious

      I love the way ISOPeace has described these differences in the relationships on another thread.

      In addition, my view is that a toxic relationship often causes emotional upset, which is different to be emotionally abused. There are many people who really do not know the difference.

    • #130182


      My week

      This is the link to Isopeaces reply on this

      It was something i haven’t been clear on, especially when thinking about the other relationships in my life, you start to wonder if everyone who is rude is abusive! But i understand a lot better now.

      Thank you everyone xxxx

    • #130365

      I can be a bit obsessive about wanting to make sense of things, which isn’t always a good thing, but I’m glad it’s been helpful this time.

      The only thing I’d add is that I would think of a toxic relationship as unhealthy in some way to the wellbeing of the people involved. That could take lots of different forms. At the milder end might be selfishness/insensitivity. At the stronger end might be addictions. It might be really difficult for either person to leave, even though they know it’s hurting them. But, like I said in my other post, one person doesn’t dominate the other.

      I think whether the relationship is toxic or abusive doesn’t make a difference to whether you should leave. But one big difference is that abuse can happen when the victim didn’t come to the relationship with significant issues and the victim could have been capable of a healthy relationship. The abuser sets out to cause problems for the victims in order to get and maintain control, so the victim certainly leaves with traumatic issues. Any issues the victim came to the relationship with are not the reason for the abuse or the reason for the trauma bond. However, I think a toxic relationship only works when both people have issues that stop them walking away. So I think people are likely to keep finding themselves in toxic relationships unless they work on their issues.

      I’m probably massively oversimplifying things. Of course people with issues can still be abused. But I do think it’s important to see that there’s a difference. I actually also think the term “abusive relationship” is a bit misleading. I mean, it is a relationship in that any interaction between 2 people is a kind of relationship. But an abusive relationship is very different from other intimate/family relationships in that the abuse is not a relationship problem with each person contributing to what is happening. The ‘relationship’ is more like the relationship between a kidnapper and a hostage. xxxx

      • #130405

        Hi Isopeace, I had to read that a couple of times to absorb it and understand, but Thankyou thats helped even more.
        Its nice to see this re-confirmed to me:
        Any issues the victim came to the relationship with are not the reason for the abuse or the reason for the trauma bond.

        As of course to my abuser my issues were the core problem of the relationship;)


    • #130769

      Hi I’m new here. I’m struggling with this myself if it’s toxic or abusive I have so much going on in my head I can’t make sense of anything. Ive been with my partner nearly (detail removed by moderator) and have 3 kids (detail removed by moderator). For years now we’ve argued more times than not but over the last god knows how long I’ve started to tread on eggshells only the other day he was putting (detail removed by moderator) he then shouted at me calling me a stupid cow and an idiot said if I didn’t like it to do it myself then told me to f off that’s just one incident. I can’t have an opinion or show any disagreement to him. After him shouting and calling me names I go inside myself and go quiet cus he does scare me at these times. Is it and cry more days than not and he doesn’t show any affection or attention he says I bring it in myself cus I’m never satisfied or I nag but after the silences he’ll give me a kind of massage when bed after a couple of days of me being silent then he’ll want sex I just let him do it cus if I say no the sulking will continue and another argument will start about how I don’t come on to him or give him any attention I’m just so confused my heads in a whirl is this abuse or toxic

      • #130777

        Hi Orchidblue,
        Being scared of him, walking on eggshells, not feeling like you can have an opinion, not being able to say no to to him and the verbal abuse all seems abusive to me. The fact is he has that control and power over you, he has the power to make you feel like you can’t say no, he has the control to make you feel intimated and afraid of him. He probably controls more then you realize.
        I was always made to feel bad that I was never in the mood for sex. I couldn’t say no. I had sex just to appease him alot of the time.
        All these things are wrong and we don’t deserve to live in an environment like that.
        I’m sure more people on here can give you more advice, keep posting and asking questions, I still get confused even now I have left. Though confusion is a normal symptom of these relationships also.
        You can chat with WA also for advise. They will let you know of your local Domestic abuse services who may be able to offer more support aswell

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